Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lazy days

Today's movie was not a horror movie, which might surprise some of you. :) Nope, instead I watched The Green Mile, a movie based on a Stephen King serialized novel of the same name. It's been a while since I read the novel, but as I recall it was pretty good, aside from the repetition that you always get with serial novels. The story focuses on a healer on death row - the green mile of the title - back in the 1930s.

The movie is fantastic; at least as good as the novel, or maybe better. The novel was short which usually translates into a better movie (at least for Stephen King adaptations... his long novels have too much stuff in them to really make a good movie). Maybe it's because Tom Hanks is starring, or maybe it's for some other reason, but the movie is compelling. I'd planned to sort of watch it and surf the internet but ended up watching more than surfing... and it's a rare drama that holds my attention that closely.

The ending was a little sad for me, though. Tom Hank's character ended up living a long time with even longer to go.... and he didn't want it. I'd give almost anything to live decades ahead, let alone hundreds of years ahead. I think I'm feeling a bit melancholy.

No matter what I felt about the ending, the movie is still fantastic and I highly recommend it.

I did manage to do a little bit of Internet surfing done. Mostly I was looking for specific patterns on eBay... and amazingly enough, some of them are actually up for sale! I'm not going to say which ones they are because I don't want to advertise that I actually *want* them... I'm hoping that their prices won't go through the roof.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More movies for me

Has anyone else noticed that there's not that much on tv these days? The shows that are on right now are shows that both Ian and I watch and since he's gone, I'm not going to watch them until he gets back.

So I watched movies today. Yay for movies!

First up was Apt Pupil, a movie we've owned for a while but that I've never seen. It's based on a very good novella by Stephen King. I haven't read the story in quite a long time, but it seems to me that the movie and the book were different. That doesn't mean that the movie is bad - in fact, like other adaptations of King's shorter works, it's quite good.

The movie is about a high-school student who discovers that someone in his own community was part of the Holocaust. The boy confronts the man and demands that he tell him about what really happened then. The telling of these things changes both of them, of course, in believable ways. I enjoyed the movie although there were a couple of scenes that bothered me. I know that no animals were hurt... but while I can watch just about any atrocity to humans, I can't watch anything bad happen to animals. Aside from those scenes, the movie was quite watchable.

Also look for a supporting performance by Fringe star Joshua Jackson. If that fine-looking gentleman isn't enough reason to watch this movie, I don't know what is. :)

The second movie is one I watched On Demand, called The Chair. It's about a haunted house where the spirit of a man first scares, and then possesses, a Master's psychology student with a history of mental illness. The movie is quite spooky even if it feels a little slow in the middle. There's hardly any blood or gore, either. For the most part, the movie is quite subtle and depends heavily on the lead actress. She does an ok job of it - the viewer can clearly see the difference between the normal and the possessed psychology student.

I did find some of the ending parts of the story somewhat unbelievable... I might have missed the clues before, but some of the things that happened at the end didn't seem to make sense and seemed to come from out of the blue. I might watch it again tomorrow just to see whether I really did miss some clues. Even though the end is weird, the movie is watchable and interesting and I'd recommend it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'd better not talk

I seem to have lost my voice... when I try to speak, out comes a croak-whisper. I don't remember the last time I lost my voice and I hope that this doesn't mean that I'm getting really sick. Or the swine flu.

Ian's going away for the next few days so I'll have the place to myself. I always miss him when he goes away but it's also nice to spend time on my own sometimes. Being on my own isn't going to be as fun if I'm sick for the entire time. So lets hope that I'm not actually getting sick.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday afternoon movie

We do occasionally watch movies on Sundays, especially when it isn't all that nice out. Today we watched [Rec], which is the Spanish version that is Quarantine... except that [Rec] came first. That's right, [Rec] was released in 2007, and Quarantine in 2008; moreover, Quarantine is almost completely a shot-for-shot remake of [Rec]. It's almost like someone decided that [Rec] was a good movie - which it is - but that it needed to be shot in English. With a couple of small additions.

Both movies are good but each had different strengths. I had very much disliked the same protagonist in Quarantine as I just didn't find her believable enough. I very much liked the female protagonist in [Rec] and thought that the actress portraying her was real and believable. Then again, I felt that the firefighters in Quarantine were portrayed as real characters, which I liked, whereas the ones in [Rec] were more one-dimensional.

I did feel that some of the action - namely, shutting down and quarantining the building - was something that was more likely to happen in the US, making Quarantine slightly more believable to me. Of course I don't know much about military action like this in other countries. It's possible that any country would be able to respond that quickly and forcefully.

The biggest difference between the two movies is in the end scene. Many of the Quarantine additions were to this end scene, which meant that it is much longer. I liked the shorter ending in [Rec] because I thought the longer English one dragged on. Being shorter, the one in [Rec] was tenser, scarier, and more powerful.

Overall, I think that I liked [Rec] slightly more than Quarantine, mostly because of how much scarier it was. Somehow, even though Quarantine was shot-to-shot the same in almost every way, those shots in [Rec] managed to be tenser and scarier. Having a better actress as the protagonist doesn't hurt, either.

Both movies are well worth seeing and I highly recommend both of them. If you've already seen Quarantine, see [Rec] anyway; it's worth the hour and a half of your time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

If it's Saturday, it must be movie day

Ever since the last Toronto International Film Festival, I've been wanting to see Martyrs. The movie generated quite a bit of controversy in France; apparently it was given an 18+ rating, which is equivalent to banning the movie. We rented and watched the movie tonight and I thought the movie was fantastic. I think I know why it got the rating it did: there's quite a bit of killing and torture everywhere. It isn't "torture porn", because every scene is required and has no more torture, beating, killing, or blood than is absolutely necessary to tell he story..

The movie centers around Lucie, who has been kidnapped, beaten, and tortured as a child, and her close friend Anna, who will do everything she can to help Lucie. The movie is clearly divided into two parts. The first half tells the story of Lucie finding the people who kidnapped, beat, and tortured her... and what she does with that knowledge. Lucie is clearly the main focus of the first half of the movie even though Anna is present and functioning.

This focus changes in the second half of the story. Here, Anna takes Lucie's place and is tortured and beaten herself. The second half does sometimes feel as though it's dragging a bit because the viewer is presented with image after image after image of Anna in the torture chamber, mostly receiving beatings. There is no soundtrack during this part of the movie; there is no music to cover these sounds, which also makes the viewer that much more aware of passing time..

This is an extremely powerful movie and although we highly recommend it, it's definitely not for the faint of heart. There's more going on that what the viewer sees... and it's up to the viewer to put much of the story together. I won't tell you what the point of the story is because that's something you need to find out for yourself. I think I would like to see this movie again because I think that it's a multi-layered movie and I could learn more from the extra scrutiny.

After watching that deep and difficult movie, we decided to watch the original Dawn of the Dead, one of the classic Romero zombie movies. In this one, our protagonists hole themselves up in a shopping mall. I'd love to have complete, free access to a mall - it's like a dream come true! Except for the zombies, of course, and anyone who knows anything about protecting oneself from zombies knows that a mall isn't a defensible location. There are too many open spaces.

That aside, this is quite a good, if slightly long, zombie movie. The people behave like you'd expect people to behave in this situation, and the movie does a fine job of showing what it would be like for people to move forward into the unknown. The sets feel claustrophobic, the people start snapping at each other, there are warring factions, and all along, there's the doomsday knowledge that the zombies are trying to eat them. This is also a movie that's definitely worth watching. Of course there's some gore and whatnot, but it *is* a zombie movie... and what's a zombie movie without zombie blood (and zombie humour)?

Friday, April 24, 2009

So much fighting

People are fighting over at YSC. Another met-sister has died, with almost no warning; and on the same day that her death was announced, someone who'd had stage II cancer posted a message asking everyone to pretend she'd died, and what would we say, because she was worried about having to do scans. Yeah, she has PTSD, but the timing of this message could have been better. Especially since she said that she checked t he mets boards before posting anything. Hmm.

Needless to say, the responses to the post have been mixed; generally, those that didn't have mets supported her and those that have mets were unsupportive. There are exceptions on both sides, of course, but that's generally how the cards fell this time.

I know this'll surprise you, but that's how the cards fall most of the time. There's a decided rift between the two camps that is becoming greater and greater. It seems that the ones who don't have mets think that the metsters are all bitches (they *do* tend to tell it like it is, with little softening), and the metsters think the ones without mets are narcissistic and insensitive. Again, there are exceptions on both sides.

And you know, both sides are right. Many of the non-mets people *can* be narcissistic and their complaints can come across as insensitive, unnecessary, and boring. Many of the metsters *can* be bitchy... and the bitchiest are the ones who've just had a bad turn. If you've just found out your cancer has taken up space in your brain or you lungs or your liver, you're not going to have much patience for people who are complaining about things that seem silly.

There used to be more understanding and compassion between the two sides. But now it seems like people are spoiling for a fight and every time something little happens, it blows up into a huge brawl. I know that things get worse when people die... but people still need help when other people die. I wish... I wish both sides would see things from the other's perspective. I wish things people were getting along. It's getting to be so much worse on that support board that it's not a good place to be, a lot of the time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sleep, glorious sleep

I'm sure you're not surprised to know that I was quite tired after the conference. There were late nights, early mornings, lots of travel, and emotional highs and lows all weekend, which left me exhausted.

Yesterday we also changed our mattress topper: through the winter, we put an electric bedwarmer on to make the bed warm, and through the summer, we have a 2" memory foam mattress topper. The electric bedwarmer (it's a mattress topper that's like an electric blanket) can't be used with the memory foam because heat is what activates the foam.

The memory foam is way, way, way more comfortable than anything else.... and it makes my back and hips feel so very much better. I slept almost the entire clock around yesterday - from 11pm Tuesday to 8pm yesterday - and I got another good 12 hours of sleep today.

I'm starting to feel almost human again... like I could actually do things again. But first, I think I need just a little more sleep.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The conference

I would have written much earlier about the trip and the conference, but I didn't get back until yesterday at noon and I was too tired to write anything to anyone!

I was flying from Philadelphia to Kitchener via Detroit with a 45min connection time and the Philly-Detroit flight was delayed. We left the gate, found a mechanical problem concerning the airflow and heating/cooling system in the passenger cabin, so went back to the gate for a fix. We were there for quite a while before we left the gate again and ended up in a 45min taxi queue. All in all, my flight was 2h late which meant that I landed in Detroit after my connection landed in Kitchener, so I spent the night in Detroit. It wasn't so bad; the airline put us up at a nearby hotel and there was a shuttle going right there. Plus they put me on a flight for the next morning and checked me in.

Aside from that travel adventure, all of the traveling was uneventful. I spent the entire conference weekend in the hotel although I was up late each night socializing. Friday night we ended up having a gathering in one of the meeting-ish areas of the hotel lobby. We ordered pizza and talked and chatted with each other; it was fun even if it was overwhelming. On Saturday, a bunch of people went into the city (we were in a suburb) for dinner but I was too tired to go. They didn't get back until 11:30pm that night, after which we hung out for about 2 hours.

One of the reasons that I so much wanted to go to the conference was to see the other women with mets. Talking to them online is one thing but meeting them in person is quite another. No one looks exactly like I imagined they would - even if they had pictures in their signature! Almost no one puts of pictures of their everyday selves there; they put up their best pictures :) Most people said that they thought I was taller. I think that means they thought I was of normal height :)

I also met some of other women from Calgary, which was fantastic. The care in the US can be very different from what we get in Canada that it's great to compare notes with other Canadian women. I'm very much hoping that we'll keep in touch.

There's something about meeting women from other places that have advanced breast cancer that's quite reassuring. Almost everyone has more cancer than I do, and they are all handling it. Even if they have to have awful treatments or they're on steroids to reduce inflammation for brain mets, they're still managing to have as good a life as possible. From that, I figure that when my cancer starts hanging out in other organs, I'll manage. Even if I have to have an awful treatment, I'll manage. I see other people doing it, so I know I'll be able to.

This isn't to say that everyone is good friends just because we all share the same disease. Having cancer doesn't make us all like each other or change who we are. We might be a bit more tolerant of each other (especially of anyone with brain mets on steroids), but we don't necessarily like each other. That's ok because it keeps the "hanging out" groups small. I spent most of my time with some number of a group of 10 or 12 of us. I liked that. I knew of another 10 or 15 people there, and while I saw them and could say hello, I didn't really spend much time with them. And that was ok, too, because no one was left alone.

So that was the social life (a huuuuge part of the conference), but I didn't just travel all that way to hang out with a bunch of people. I got a grant to go to the conference which means that I had to attend the actual conference :)

The main conference speeches talked about the new research areas which include targeted therapies like Herceptin and Avastin. These therapies (and the ones they're researching) target cancer cell-specific actions and block them off or change them in some way so that the cells die. Of course this means that they need to find out other cancer cell-specific actions. They're still working on that, but there does seem to be enough pathways known right now on which the drugs could work that would benefit many of us. One benefit of these therapies is that the side effects are almost non-existent since they have little to no effect on non-cancer cells. Pretty cool, huh? I definitely thought so.

I guess these types of therapies are monoclonal antibodies, which is a topic I remember reading about back in high school. They knew about them then but they didn't really know what to do with them or how they could be used. I think I remember back then that they hoped it would help cure or treat cancer... but clearly, the mechanisms by which cancer grows are much more complicated than they might have thought (or than they might think now, for all I know) 20-odd years ago. Still, I have hope that now that they've come out with a few of these drugs, more and more will be available. Plus I think that the research itself is super-cool.... at least until they start doing serious research into nanobodies or nanonites.

Anyways, back to the conference. Aside from the main speech, the conference had workshops on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I went to a workshop on Sexuality and Intimacy. The speaker was a man, which is unfortunate because the workshop wasn't well-attended even though many, many people asked questions about sex in the "ask-the-experts" forum the next day.

Anyways, I learned that some anti-depressants have a negative effect on sexuality and if the anti-depressant can't be changed, the woman can take Cialis so that she's more interested and more able. I also learned that it's important not to put all the eggs in one basket in an all-or-nothing way: just because a woman might not be able to have intercourse doesn't exclude all types of sexuality and intimacy. I think that these ideas are useful for non-breast cancer people, too. Who knew that women could take Cialis? And that it would have a positive effect? I didn't before, but I do now.

Sunday I went to a Pain Management workshop. That was also small, which was fine, because I function better in a small group setting. That talk was quite interesting. The speaker focused a lot on telling the healthcare people not only that one is in pain, which is very important, but also to try to describe that pain. She also talked about the fact that pain, and therefore pain control, is individual. Each of us feels pain in a unique way and each of us responds to painkillers in a different way. Some of us metabolize these drugs differently than others, and that's ok. Some of us need more of the drugs than someone with comparable pain, and that's ok, too. I came away feeling reassured that I'm not a freak and that it's ok to want to get rid of the pain.

Of course not all pain is cancer pain... and in talking casually with other conference participants, I learned some things about the pain I'm experiencing. As a reminder, I have pain in my lower back, in my hip joint when I bend my leg in certain ways, and on the outside of my hip.

The person I was talking to said that she had pain in that exact spot on the outside of the hip and that hers was bursitis. I looked that up on the internet and I could very well have bursitis there as a side-effect of trying to walk with the pain in my lower back that spreads down my leg, and the occasional pain from my hip joint. After all, my mutant elbow (which is down by about half now) is bursitis and caused by not gripping the cane properly. It stands to reason that if that could cause mutant elbow, walking badly could cause swelling and pain in the hip.

So after all of this, I think I want to see a physiotherapist and/or chiropractor (or an orthopedic person) to see if we can't get me back in balance in such a way as to get rid of the pain in my lower back AND deal with the pain in my hip as well. There's no sense getting rid of one if the other's still there if they're connected, right? I might get rid of my limp and my cane yet!

Overall, I'm very, very happy that I went to the conference this past weekend. I'm happy that I met the people I did, spent time with the people I did, and learned the things that I did. I wish that I could go to more of these, but there's only so much that I can do and so much money that I have. I'll go as often as I can, though, because being with my met-sisters is good for me in a way that I can hardly explain.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane

I've got everything together and I'm pretty well all packed. Believe it or not, I managed to put everything into one small bag that I can carry-on by putting the strap across my body. If I squish the stuff in the bag, I think I could even fit my purse inside. Now *that's* good packing.

I've been having trouble with my hip again today... and while I'd like to think that my hip will be fine tomorrow, what if it isn't? I don't want to be lugging a suitcase behind me while hobbling around with the cane; having one hand free makes getting around so much easier.

I won't be updating my blog until Sunday night or Monday, so I hope you have as fun a weekend as I (hope I) will!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Where did this come from?

You know that I'm walking with a cane because my hip is sore and hurts when I walk without it. Today, for some reason, my hip has been in agony - worse than ever before. I've been barely able to walk and stairs.... stairs... stairs are almost too much for me. I stood at the top of the upstairs earlier, unsure that I could actually go to the main floor. When I next head upstairs for bed, I'm not coming back downstairs. And even just sitting or lying down, I'm getting wicked, agonizing pain in my hip. Where did this pain come from?

I haven't had pain like this since before we got the sternal mets pain under control. I've taken Percocet (and I hope it starts working soon - holy oh crap my hip hurts) even though I don't really want to take it. I sleep too long when I take then Percocet, and I'm leaving for the conference early Friday morning and need to get stuff done tomorrow. I tell you, this pain is sucking the life out of me.

I met up with a friend of mine the other day, and another woman she knows had a PET scan done in Mississauga. A PET scan is standard-of-care for metastatic breast cancer in the US but not here in Canada as it's expensive and there aren't many machines around. This scan uses a radioactive tracer (like a bone scan does, although it uses a different tracer) that bonds to glucose. A hot spot, where glucose uptake is higher, indicates that there's something fast-growing in the body and so can detect metastatic cancers at a much earlier stage than can a CT, MRI, or bone scan.

The woman who had the PET scan done has the same oncologist as me, so I could probably ask my oncologist to request one... the issue would be paying for it. The center in Mississauga charges about $2400, which I assume is on par with other centers. There is a possibility that my insurance might pay for it so when I get back from the conference, I'll give them a call. I see my oncologist in early May and have scans coming up in June and including a PET scan in with the others isn't a bad idea.

As an aside - reconstructing images in any of these scanning methods is very difficult... and also very very cool. It's a kind of "big technology" that I find awesome and interesting. I think I'm supposed to have enough math to actually understand how stuff works but I'd rather just sit back and admire it all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Living with mets.... and the conference

I'm looking forward to the conference this weekend. I'll get to learn things and to see and be around people who get me in ways that other people who have breast cancer but not mets can't. It's not that these people with non-metastatic breast cancer can't understand me but there are a number of reasons why I end up feeling uncomfortable.

One reason is that I can end up feeling like I'm on display - like I'm the boogeyman who embodies their worst fears. Then there are some people with earlier stage breast cancer who "just want to understand those of us with mets" - which is fine if they just go to the conference, but I've heard people express the desire to listen to our stories. This idea leaves me very, very uncomfortable, as though someone is trying to take from me more than I'm prepared to give. It's one thing if I volunteer information; it's quite another if someone is trying to get it from me for their own purposes.

The other thing is that when mets people get together, there's a kind of shared history - we all know we've got a terminal illness and that colours what we say and do. Some of the humour is pretty black, I'll tell you :) The point is that women with non-metastatic breast cancer don't usually have that history and so it has to be explained... which interrupts the flow of conversation. I know that this might seem to be a little thing, but this shared history and point of view is something that I treasure.

So with all that said, one of the reasons I was especially looking forward to this conference is that it's aimed at women with mets - women like me. There's at least one woman who's going who doesn't have mets.... she's going because she wants to say goodbye to one of the women who isn't doing well. That would be fine and normal if they knew each other well.... but these two women aren't even friends.

WTF? How creepy is that? What the hell is this woman thinking? She's gone and invited herself to this conference just for the purpose of being with one of the women who's not doing well.

I hope this woman decides not to go to the conference. It's just so.... rude of her to have invited herself so that she can be creepy and stalkerish. All I can say right now is that I have a cane and I'm not afraid to use it. I don't want my friend to have to deal with this ... this.... b!tch. Grrr.

I'm still looking forward to the *rest* of the conference, and to hanging out with my friends.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Easter Sunday is a great day - almost as good as Christmas and my birthday. The Easter bunny pays a visit and leaves chocolate. Yum :) I don't get as much chocolate as I did when I was a kid, but the quality of the chocolate is better these days.

We spent the weekend at Ian's parent's and ate way too much yummy food. It was quite a relaxing weekend spent mostly sitting around and watching tv.

I just wish the dishes had done themselves and the house had cleaned itself before we got home. Alas, these objects aren't capable of doing anything other than existing. The dishes will get done: I plan to make supper tomorrow which will need clean dishes, so I'll have to do them. Daily existence can be somewhat less fun than a restful weekend.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Shopping for new things for Easter

Almost everybody likes to have new things for Easter. Spring is springing and it's nice to have a new thing to bring in the new season.

I really will get around to sewing a new thing for me, but in the meantime, I've been looking at new beads and stuff. One of the suppliers from which I occasionally purchase beads is liquidating all of their inventory. Everything was 40% off a couple of weeks ago and now is 50% off. Not only that, I got a coupon code for an extra 15% off from another site. The price might go down even further but I don't know how far down the prices will go.... or whether the coupon will last long enough to be used with a greater discount.

So of course I want to just go and buy, buy, buy. I started by going through all of the listings and adding anything that I thought I might like. That total came to $1250 (before the 15% off coupon), which is obviously too much to spend. I started taking things away and I've got things almost to a reasonable number. Most of what I have in my shopping cart is findings as opposed to beads. At these prices, the sterling silver stuff is well below the current silver prices. I've also been thinking of using copper for some designs because some colours go well with copper. The copper is much cheaper than sterling silver.

The most expensive item in my shopping cart is a strand of opal round beads. They're quite small at 5 or 6mm but they appear to be good quality. I've been hemming and hawing about buying the opal, because I love it, but there are other types of beads that I could buy for the same price.

Clearly I need to think about whether I want to buy all of this stuff. There are of course other beads and whatnot that I'd love to buy from other sites and I have to be sure that I'm going to get the best value for my money. 50% off isn't a bargain if I don't need or couldn't use the stuff, right?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Getting ready for next weekend

I've been meaning to do some sewing for the conference in Philadelphia this coming weekend but I just haven't been able to make myself do enough work on it. I suppose if I worked flat out for the rest of the week I'd be able to get the dress done... but I'm trying to conserve energy for the conference.

It turns out that there are 25 or 30 women with mets from the YSC board going to this conference - that's a lot! Most of them, including me, are arriving Friday night and are all going to get together and talk. No non-mets people allowed to that talk! It's limiting to have non-mets people present when women with mets are talking; too often they don't want to hear some of the things we need to talk about. Like the treatments and the fears. And the terminal aspect of the illness. Too many non-mets women try to minimize these things because it scares them.... but we need to talk about them, too. And I, at least, don't want to censor myself.

Some of the women who were at Westport with me will be at the conference. Three of them have taken a turn for the worse: one with dural mets, one with possible brain mets, and one whose cancer has gone everywhere - her bones, her brain, her liver, and it was already in her lungs. Once cancer goes to so many places, time is very, very short. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that this will be the last time I see this woman.

Of course there's more to the conference than visiting.... there's the conference itself :) I'm hoping to learn something from the workshops and to meet even more women with mets from all over the place.

So you can see how the trip might be exhausting, between being at the conference for two full days and learning stuff and the emotional aspect of being around women who aren't doing well, and why I want to be sure I have enough energy built up beforehand so that I'm not exhausted while I'm there or afterwards. In Westport I was tired before the weekend was out because I did too much, too fast. This time, I'll go slower. And if I don't end up finishing my sewing before I go, well, I'll finish it up after the conference. It's more important to get through the conference than to sew for it.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pamidronate day... and some thoughts

I had my Pamidronate today - on a different day than usual, which means that I get a different nurse to disconnect it than usual. I like today's nurse a lot; she's always very nice and seems to really, genuinely care about people. My usual Monday nurse tends to be cranky and brusque.

I hadn't seen the Thursday nurse in a very long time (she bought earrings from me before, and if I had anything to show her she'd have bought more today) so we did some catching up. I found myself talking about how my activities are limited and how I'm ok with that. Before, I would plan to do this, that, and the other thing in a day, but I can't do as much now. So if I get one thing done in a day, that's good, and any more than that is a bonus. What surprised me about talking about this was that I really felt like I have accepted my limitations. I knew I'd been feeling emotionally ok but I didn't realize just how well I actually felt.

We also talked about mindfulness. I don't remember lots and lots of my past, not just because I was drinking or doing drugs, but because I simply wasn't paying attention. I coasted through so many years without being emotionally involved or stopping to take a look at where I was, what I was doing, or how I was feeling. I feel very different now. I try to pay attention to what I'm doing - to be mindful - so that I can look back and remember it. I feel like I've wasted too much of my life by just not being there. I want to feel like I'm really living whatever life I have left.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Friends of my dad

My sister started a new job and has been meeting a lot of new people. It turns out that one of the people she met was a good friend of our dad's in the last place he worked - what a small world! Apparently my dad started out grumpy (which he could definitely be, although I think he was shy, too) and then turned into this sociable guy, telling jokes and stories about growing up and watching movies and stuff. He used to tell my sisters and me the same stories but I don't remember them very well.

My dad's friend was female, which is no surprise, because my dad was a charmer from a very early age. He used to tell me that he'd talk to anyone, no matter what they looked like, and that that was how he charmed all of these girls. He was very easy-going with people, especially women, and tended to accept them for who they were in a non-judgmental way.

Finding out about my dad's friend and hearing what she said is eye-opening, because while I knew my dad had friends, I never thought any of us would know them or hear them talk about my dad as they saw him. We were his kids and even though we ended up developing adult-type relationships with him, I think to him we were always his little girls and so he wouldn't have been the same person with other people as he was with us. And from my perspective, I knew that my dad was an adult and not just my dad. Finding out about his friend gave me a more well-rounded view of who my dad really was.

It made me feel good to know that my dad was well-liked and that he was someone I would have like to have spent more time with even had I not been his daughter. My dad was nowhere near perfect but he was a pretty good guy and a role model. I wish I could tell him this now, or that I'd known before he died so that I could have told him.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Finished with the jewelry... on with the sewing

I delivered the finished necklace and earring sets to the bride this afternoon. I'm quite pleased with the result, especially because the final product looks almost exactly like the sketch. The first picture is the design (done by laying out the beads in the pattern) and the second is the actual necklace. They don't have the same background because they weren't taken under the same conditions, but you can see see the important stuff.

The big oval beads are dyed mother-of-pearl, the light teardrop briolettes are mystic blue quartz, and the other two dark beads are apatite. These beads, especially the mother-of-pearl with its swirls of colour, will go perfectly with the turquoise bridesmaid's dresses. The bride also wanted something that would be suitable for a beach wedding AND be wearable after the wedding. I think these pieces fit those requirements, too.... not to mention that the pieces are lovely. :)
Now that I'm done with this project, I can get back to sewing. Yay! I didn't work on any of that today but I hope to get some stuff done tomorrow. It's going to be a busy week; Ian's got an appointment Wednesday morning and I have Pamidronate Thursday morning. And of course the Easter Bunny comes this weekend :) As long as I don't sleep my afternoons away, I should be able to make some headway on the dress for the trip next weekend. I hope.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Finally, a design

I finally figured out exactly how to do the necklaces for the bridesmaids. As you know, I was having trouble with the 3-way or Y connections; I didn't know how to attach a drop to a beaded chain and still make it look good. My first thought was to attach each part to a closed loop but that didn't look right. So this morning I went looking for some type of connector, but the only ones I found that I even remotely liked were $2 each, and I need 20 of them. Scratch that.

After some experimentation I figured out a way to use some small spacers I have. The wire I'm using is very fine (26 gauge) because one of the stones in the design has very tiny holes, and I can fit three of those wires in the hole on the spacers.

I've finished two of the necklaces this evening and I'll do the other two tomorrow. The earrings won't take any time at all.

Tonight we watched Zombie Strippers!, a movie about strippers that become zombies and end up being super-strippers. They get lots of attention and guys coming to the club, and they have stripper battles and stuff. There's a lot of funny dialog and funny lines. You might be surprised to know that there's also a lot of nudity, a lot of stripping, and a lot of gore. If you like all of that, you'll love this movie. :)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Much about nothing

I should have more to talk about today because in theory, I would have done stuff. But really, all I did was go to the store to get milk and cereal... and that's not much of anything.

Sure, I played with the jewelry for the bridesmaids a bit, but I didn't finish anything. I don't like the way that I'm connecting the beads in the necklace right now. I'm using rings at the three-way points where I have things dropping below the necklace itself but I don't like the look. I wish I had some silversmithing knowledge because I think I might like to have solid circular plates with tiny holes to which I can connect each of the three points. I'll have to think of something else. I'm not without ideas and I'll have to do some experimentation tomorrow to get it looking like it does in my head.

And yeah, we watched a DVD that came with Just After Sunset by Stephen King. The DVD is a moving-comic version of N., one of the stories in the book. While it didn't follow the story word-for-word, it did a good job of conveying the creepiness of the story. The story is about a ring of stones that contain something from another world... unless someone views the stones, in which case one of them disappears. But only people who've heard about the stones can get to see them. The idea behind the story - that there's a secret field where only people who've heard the secret can see it and people who hear the secret are compelled to go the  field - is very cool in a House of Leaves kind of way.

Aside from that... I got nothing.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The last curling night

Tonight was the last regular Thursday curling night and I thought I would go and say hi - or goodbye - and pick up my curling gear. I hadn't been back in the club since I fell that night and had to start using the cane.

It was a little weird to be in there and not curling. Everything looked the same and smelled the same but it all felt different to me. I guess the fact that I was there but I can't curl there makes me see things differently.

Unfortunately there weren't too many people there tonight... and even more unfortunately, the people I used to talk to most often weren't there :( I suppose I'll see those people again next season or later, if I go some evening and they're curling.

It would be nice to be able to curl again someday. Then again, I don't really want the Femara to stop working - too many of the women I know are in the middle of treatment failures and I don't want to be one of them. Having stable cancer means more to me than curling.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sleep, sleep, sleep all day

I should have known that after being so busy the last few days, I would sleep in today. I had all sorts of plans for the day - I was going to work on the bridesmaid's jewelry since the design has been confirmed and I thought I might get some pattern work done. Ha! Instead, I slept all day, getting up at 6pm to have breakfast and watch tv.

I'm still tired so I know that I'll sleep well when I go to sleep again. Hopefully I'll get up much earlier tomorrow so that I can do what I'd planned on doing today. I don't mind sleeping a lot because I clearly need it - but sleeping all day isn't the same as living.

I hope that when I go to Philadephia I don't get tired like this. Two of the women who are going and whom I met in Westport are not doing as well as they were before... one of them, at least, may have taken a turn for the seriously worse. I want to spend as much time as possible with them and everyone while we're together. Time is too short to spend it asleep.